It was 2003 and I was working at the U.S. Embassy in Ghana. I was a brand new officer with my eye on the ball. I made one of my first cold calls as a political officer to an office in the Ghanaian government. I dialed. A secretary answered the phone. “Hello,” I said, nervous, rushing my speech almost without breathing, “My name is Kerry and I’m calling from the American Embassy. May I speak with Mr. Mensah?”
“Good afternooooon,”the secretary sang in her wonderful West African lilt. Then an expectant silence.
I tried again. “Good afternoon, my name is Kerry and I’m calling from the American Embassy, may I speak with Mr. Menshah?”
“Good afternooooon,” the secretary sang out, “How are you?”
Deep breath. Finally, I remembered. I wasn’t in Washington anymore. Continue reading